Some of our favourite species may have flown south, but winter sets the stage for new birding pleasures. Arctic-breeding Snowy Owls and Snow Buntings may be observed at lower latitudes, Dark-eyed Juncos become abundant across southern Canada, and a diverse cast of waterbirds populates open waters. The nakedness of the branches makes some birds easier to spot. And you never know when a rare visitor will turn up at your feeder!
Winter is also a fantastic time to help birds through Citizen Science. Wherever you are in Canada, you can report your bird observations through the following programs. Scientists use the crowd-sourced data in research that answers questions about winter bird populations and helps to guide conservation action. Participating is a great excuse to enjoy some time outside – with friends and family, or on your own.
Red-bellied Woodpecker Photo: Kerrie Wilcox
9 November 2019 – 3 April 2020
Count your feeder birds throughout the winter. The season has just started, but it’s not too late to join! It takes little time, and you receive materials to help with bird identification. It’s great for bird lovers of all ages and skill levels. Learn more.
Christmas Bird Count
14 December 2019 – 5 January 2020
Team up with your local birding community to take a census of the birds in your count circle. Your results will add to a valuable long-term dataset that’s been growing since the first Christmas Bird Count 120 years ago! Find a count near you or contact Yousif Attia, the Canadian CBC Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is not yet a count in your area. While you’re out there, take some pictures so you can participate in our Christmas Bird Count photo contest.
Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids)
1 December 2019 – 31 January 2020
The well-loved Christmas Bird Count has inspired a version for youth. At CBC4Kids events across Canada, kids explore winter birds, build identification and monitoring skills, and connect with their local birding community. Your family, group, or class can join the fun by finding an event near you or planning your own. CBC4Kids participants are eligible to take part in our Christmas Bird Count photo contest!
Great Backyard Bird Count
14 – 17 February 2020
Count birds for as little as 15 minutes or as long as you like, and help capture a global snapshot of where the birds are. Get competitive with birding buddies, or keep it casual. Take some beginners along to share the fun. Then sit back and watch results pour in from around the world! Learn more and mark your calendar.
You can be a Citizen Scientist anytime, anywhere. Get started by creating a free eBird account. Not only does it let you contribute to an enormously useful international database, it also keeps track of your bird lists and provides other tools that will enhance your birding life. There’s even a mobile app to keep you connected in the field.
Canada Jay Photo: Peter Gadd